Is my Apple tree going to die?

Asked April 27, 2019, 10:18 AM EDT

Something chewed most of the bark/skin but only in a 2 inch spot is it really deeply chewed. Will it live?

Crow Wing County Minnesota bark damage rabbit damage deer damage tree damage

1 Response

The answer to your question depends upon how much of the tree received damage? Here's a quick and dirty way of determining this. Get a piece of string and wrap it around the stem. The length of the string will be the circumference of the stem. Now using this same piece of string, stretch it between the edges of bark damage. If the length of bark damage is about 40% or less of the tree's circumference, the tree may survive. If the length of bark damage is 50% or more of the tree's circumference, it is doubtful that the tree will survive. If this latter is true the tree may still show limited leaf development this spring but its chances of surviving through our next winter season would be unlikely.

The other issue that you are facing is where the deeper damage to the tree occurred. This will cause a weakening of the tree and could lead to the tree being snapped at this point during high winds.

In the long run your best course of action may be total replacement.

However, the most definitive answer to your question would be provided by a professional certified arborist. It is suggested that you have such an individual inspect your tree. Here is an excellent University of Minnesota publication about securing the services of such an individual:

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/how-hire-tree-care-professional

If it turns out that the tree needs to be replaced, here is another University of Minnesota publication about how you might prevent such damage from recurring:

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/protecting-trees-and-shrubs-winter

Good Luck!!